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Mitchell pleads guilty to helping prisoners escape

Clinton County Sheriff's Department


Joyce Mitchell, the former civilian employee at Clinton Correctional Facility, pleaded guilty Tuesday to helping convicted murdererers Richard Matt and David Sweat escape from the prison.

Mitchell admitted to helping the two convicted murderers escape from the prison in Dannemora, New York, changing her plea from not guilty, to guilty. Mitchell was working as a prison tailor shop instructor when she allegedly smuggled in small tools and offered to be the getaway driver for Matt and Sweat.

Mitchell pleaded guilty to a felony charge of promoting prison contraband and misdemeanor criminal facilitation.

"There was overwhelming evidence that she did what she admitted to today in court," said Stephen Johnston, Mitchell’s defense attorney. He says she “got in over her head” and “made a horrible mistake.”

Mitchell admits to helping the men escape. In exchange, she will not be charged with separate counts for each time she allegedly brought hacksaw blades and other items into the prison.

The judge says if convicted, Mitchell could serve up to seven years behind bars and pay $6,000 in fines. She will be sentenced in late September.